In a surprise move, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has announced new sanctions against Iran.
The move is not totally shocking, given the Trump administration’s record of bellicosity towards the Islamic republic.
The sanctions target 16 “entities and individuals” for furnishing support to Iran’s military or Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, or for alleged involvement in criminal activities.
Regarding the targets of the sanctions, Mnuchin stated:
These sanctions target procurement of advanced military hardware, such as fast attack boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilizing behavior.
Mnuchin failed to explain why acquisition of UAVs and “fast boats” by Iran qualifies as “destabilizing behavior”, but is perfectly acceptable for any other country in the world.
This Administration will continue to aggressively target Iran’s malign activity, including their ongoing state support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human rights abuses.
No mention was made of massive Saudi and other Gulf state international support for Islamic terrorism, nor massive human rights abuses prevalent and well known in America’s Gulf state allies.
Nor was any mention made that the four most destabilizing events in the region currently are 1) the war in Syria, started by the US and its Gulf allies, 2) Islamic State, which rose thanks to instability created by the US in Syria and Iraq, and 3) the embargo and implied threats of war against Qatar as the chosen scapegoat for the Gulf states’ terror support, 4) the Saudi led war in Yemen.
And the issue of the occupied Palestinian territories remains unresolved, providing a lingering festering sore fueling discontent and hatred in the region.
Iran bears no responsibility for any of this, nor can any example be provided of Iran’s supposed support for terrorism. Critics would name Iranian aid to Lebanese militia Hezbollah – but this organization can hardly be described as practicing terrorist tactics today, despite US and Israeli designation of it as such.
The Trump administration took the action despite only yesterday certifying that Iran was in full compliance with the nuclear deal signed with the US and other countries.
Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had been in New York for several days and also yesterday, appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations and gave a very amicable interview followed by a Q&A session.
It doesn’t appear to have earned his country much credit with the Treasury Department.